create some jobs, too

Ice_Storm_by_NOAASometimes the answer to a problem is staring you in the face. And sometimes it can solve more than one problem, if you implement it.

We’re thinking about the traffic problem that Metro Atlanta had two weeks ago with snow and ice and people stuck for hours in traffic.

Out of all this, are you not “surprised” that some members of our Legislature are coming forth with the same old answers, suggesting that the people of Georgia pass a T-SPLOST, which they think would solve the traffic patterns during a snowstorm. Those people just can’t get T-SPLOST taste of defeat out of their mouths!

First of all, no matter how many roads we have in Georgia, our people will probably always panic at even the thought of snow. It seems to be in our DNA, even if you are transferred here from the North. Traffic will be bad, shelves will be clear of the essentials (bread, milk, and for some, beer), plus businesses and school officials will be trying to figure out whether to close down.

For the life of us, we can’t see how the T-SPLOST could ever solve a snowjam. However, those pushing for more sales taxes seem never to give up. They never let a problem go by without citing sales taxes as the solution. Hence, we should have expected the T-SPLOST suggestion for snow problems.

If legislators would open their minds, one solution to jamming of Interstate 285 with trucks is staring them in the face. After all, it was the presence of lots and lots of trucks on the highways, often including their jack-knifing, that only added to the problems of the snow and ice.

Legislators should think back to one solution of reducing traffic in Atlanta that they have appeared to have forgotten.

It was back during the administration of former Governor Roy Barnes that the idea for building the Northern Arc highway was dropped. It would have been a route from Interstate 85 through near Sugar Hill, Cumming and Canton to Cartersville, connecting there with Interstate 75, While this does not automatically solve the problems of snow and ice being on the roads, this route would take a tremendous amount of 18-wheeler rigs off roads near Atlanta at all times. It would also improve overall traffic conditions in Atlanta particularly during stormy weather.

There were several reasons that the Northern Arc was dropped as a solution, all short-sighted! Yet the need remains for moving traffic between the two interstates in a timely and safe fashion, and eliminating these big rigs from coming into the Metro Atlanta region and clogging traffic.

Yet the legislators propose as their solution to traffic problems the once-defeated T-SPLOST proposal as the all-time answer to all traffic problems.

Look, legislators, the people have spoken fairly loudly on T-SPLOST. They don’t want it in Metro Atlanta, for several reasons.

Instead of another proposal for a sales tax, why don’t you legislators do what you should have done years ago, and increase the tax on gasoline as one measure for funding some of the answers to the transportation solution? After all, Georgia continues to have one of the lowest taxes on gasoline dedicated to roads.

Re-consideration of the Northern Arc would be part of the answer. Higher dedicated-for-highways tax on gasoline would be another part. Together they would help move Georgia in the direction we need, and also be part of the solution to icy and snowy conditions during the winter months.

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This article originally appeared at Gwinnett Forum. Image: Ice Storm by an employee of NOAA/public domain via wikipedia.org.
Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack is a native Georgian and veteran newspaperman. He published the weekly Wayne County Press for 12 years; was for 13 years the vice president and general manager of Gwinnett Daily News, and for 13 years was associate publisher of the Gwinnett section of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He now publishes, in retirement, Web sites on Gwinnett County, http://www.gwinnettforum.com, and Georgia news, http://www.georgiaclips.com.